Grilling & Broiling Techniques

Grilling and broiling use radiant heat at temperatures in excess of 500 °F/260˚C. Although the terms are used interchangeably, grilling by definition uses a heat source from below while broiling uses upper heat. Grilling over wood or charcoal produces the best flavor, but natural gas can produce an acceptable product too. Pan-Grilling creates a grill effect although not as flavorful as a true grill.





Pan Grilling

Pan Grilling

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The intense heat used for grilling creates something called a Maillard Reaction through the rendering of fats and caramelization of the sugars in the proteins. Flavor development is further enhanced because of the fats that render and drip on the heat source.

What to Grill

Grilling and broiling are most suited for naturally tender items that need a relatively short cooking time, including steaks, chops, fish fillets, and shellfish. Hamburgers, sausages, and skewered foods, including vegetables like onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers, are also good candidates. Larger steaks and chops can be started on the grill, and finished in an oven, to prevent excessive charring and minimize bitter flavors. Whole fish or fillets can also be grilled in specially designed baskets or on wood planks.

Grilled Fish

Grilled Fish

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Best Choice for Grilling: Beef, pork, veal, lamb, venison loin, rib, and tenderloin steaks and chops, burgers, skirt steak, flank steak, poultry breasts, Cornish hens, quail, squab, fish steaks (tuna, swordfish), small whole fish, shrimp, scallops, kabobs

Best Choice for Broiling: Fish steaks and fillets, lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams

Accompaniments: Compound butters, sauce condiments (chimichurri, chermoula, salsa), classic small French brown or white sauces, béarnaise and hollandaise variations


Seasoning – Liberally season with salt and pepper, or use a dry rub, with garlic powder, onion powder, and red chili flakes. Rub lamb with fennel pollen or ground rosemary. Brush with a neutral oil (canola or soybean oil)
Heat Index: High to medium high

Chicken & Other Poultry

Seasoning - Brine or marinade poultry, add complimentary spices, including sage, thyme, and lemon zest.

  • Brush with a neutral oil (canola or soybean oil)
  • Brush with a diluted barbecue sauce (apply towards the end of the cooking process), avoid sugary sauces, brines, and marinades – they will burn easily at high temperatures

Heat Index: Medium to medium-high heat

Grilled Clams

Grilled Clams


Seasoning – Season with salt and pepper, fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, or parsley, or a dry rub like Cajun seasoning.

  • Brush with a neutral oil (canola or soybean oil)

Heat Index: Medium to medium-high heat is best for cooking all forms of seafood, from whole fish, to fillets or steaks, to clams and oysters, or shrimp and scallops on a skewer

Vegetables & Fruits

Whole corn in the husk, sliced squash or root vegetables, halved fruits like peaches or avocado.
Seasoning - Marinade or season & oil
Heat Index: Medium heat

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Pears

Grilled Pears

Tools for Grilling and Broiling

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Setting Up the Grill

Clean & Season

Pre-heat grill 30-60 minutes prior to service. Clean the grill with a wire brush to remove excess carbon debris. Season the grill by brushing it with an oiled rag  to seal the pores of the grate making it less likely to stick when cooking.  

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Cook in the Zone

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Set Up Zones on the grill to cook items at different temperatures and times
Depending on the size of the grill, you may have 2 or three zones

Grilling in Action

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  • Using tongs, place the items, presentation side down, on the grill to be cooked
  • Allow time for the item to cook and develop color and the characteristic grill marks; the item should naturally release from the grill if it has been seasoned properly
  • Turn the item 90° with tongs to create a cross-hatch effect; use a spatula for fish fillets
  • Flip the item and continue cooking; turn as needed
  • Use indirect heat after marking to finish to the desired temperature
  • Cover the product with a small pan to cook faster and reduce flare-ups


Checking for Doneness

  • Check the internal temperature; insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the steak without touching the bone

Resting Time

  • Remove from the grill when slightly undercooked, to allow for carryover cooking
  • Place on a tray or pan and keep warm
  • Let rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before carving

Grilling Tips

  • For rare-cooked steaks use high heat, for well-done steaks use lower heat
  • For rare steaks use thicker cuts, for well-done steaks use thinner cuts
  • For well-done steaks, mark the steak and finish in an oven
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